CRITICAL SCRUTINY OF ‘NO WORK NO PAY’ DOCTRINE IN LABOUR LAW

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Overview

The employer-employee relationship depends on the way that a laborer consents to give her work/labour to the employer as a byproduct of which the employer consents to repay her with cash/benefits/different contemplations. Such cash/advantage/other thought is alluded to as Wages. The Industrial Disputes Act stipulates that wages means any remuneration paid to the workman by the employer, for the work she performs for the employer.[1]It includes benefits and allowances such as dearness allowance or the value of any housing or the supply of light, water, electricity etc. It does not, however, include bonuses, gratuity or any contribution to the pension or provident fund.[2]

The rule of ‘No Work No Compensation’ is cherished in the connection between an employer and employee. Where an employee refuses to work as a result of a strike or absence from work or various other reasons, the employer has no obligation to pay any wages.[3]

The rule of ‘No Work No Compensation’ is revered in the connection between an employer and employee.[4] Absence from duty means the absence of an employed person from the place or places at which she is required to work as per the terms of employment for the whole or any part of the period during which she is supposed to work.[5]Such deduction of wage, however, must in no instance be disproportionate to the period of absence from work.[6]

Absence from work is not limited to the physical presence of the employee in the place of work. A refusal to work in pursuance of a stay in strike or for any other cause which is not reasonable would make the employee who refuses liable for deduction of a proportional amount from her wages.[7] The guideline of ‘no work no compensation’ is of most extreme pertinence as to the circumstance of strike. In this paper, the researcher  plans to investigate the different sorts of strikes and the pertinence of the previously mentioned guideline to such circumstances. Advancement of the doctrine.

Right to strike

The presence of a right to strike has involved an extraordinary question. Huge jurisprudence has been made on the issue coming full circle with the risky judgment in the T.K. Rangarajan case.8

Statutory Right

Before digging into the judicial decisions on the issue, it is relevant to comprehend the statutory arrangements that are included. The Announcement of Articles and Reasons of the Mechanical Debates Act itself gives us a thought of the aim of the designers with respect to strike. The announcement peruses:

“The power to refer disputes to Industrial Tribunals and enforce their awards is an essential corollary to the obligation that lies on the Government to secure conclusive determination of the disputes with a view to redressing the legitimate grievances of the parties thereto, such obligation arising from the imposition of restraints on the rights of strike and lock-out, which must remain inviolate, except where considerations of public interest override such right”.[8]

Right to strike as a method of review of authentic complaints of the laborers against the employers is perceived under the plan of the ID Demonstration. Besides, s.24 separated among legitimate and unlawful strikes (those which don’t meet the arrangements set down in the ID Demonstration.) Sections 22,23 and 24 of the Demonstration suggest a right to strike for laborers and the associative right of lockout for the employer. This was explained on by Equity Gajendragadkar who said the weapon of strike is accessible to the laborer as is the weapon of the lockout to the employer.

Other than the ID Demonstration, the Worker’s organizations Demonstration likewise perceives the right to strike. Sections 18 (xiii) and 19 (xiv) of the Act confer immunity upon trade unions on strike from civil liability.

Fundamental and Legal Right

The working class has earned the right to strike after a lengthy and arduous struggle.[9] Strikes are integral to the process of bargaining in an industry.[10]A worker has few other means of defending her wage other than seeking an increase in money wage. If a capitalist does not grant the requested increase, she can be brought to the negotiating table by workers going on strike. The same applies to government servants as well but it is not merely the authorities but also the general public which suffers a loss. This places considerable pressure on the relevant to authority to negotiate.[11]

The right to strike shares deep links with the practice of collective bargaining.[12]  The Supreme Court has held that the ability of trade unions to bargain with the employers will be substantially affected if they are unable to demonstrate by adopting methods such as strike, go-slow or sit down strike.[13]

As far as the right to strike being a fundamental right, the Supreme Court has held that even a liberal interpretation of Article 19(1)(c) cannot lead to the conclusion that it is a fundamental right.[14]

These issues were finally decided by the Supreme Court in its decision in the T.K Rangarajan Case.[15]The Court dealt with the contention, raised in the All India Bank Employees’ Association case[16],that the freedom to form an association under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution carried with it the right to strike by saying that interpreting the constitution in such a manner would lead to a never ending circle where rights concomitant to concomitant rights would also have to recognized.

While it is acceptable that the right to strike cannot be seen as a fundamental right, the manner in which the Court dealt with the issue of there being a legal right to strike was shocking. The Court categorically held that Government Employees have no “legal, moral or equitable right” to go on strike. This decision seems to go against both statutory provisions as well as previously decided cases. Furthermore, the bench in this case was smaller than the 3 Judge Bench in the Gujarat Steel Tubes case and could not overrule that decision.

Strike and ‘no work no pay’

The remuneration or salary earned by a worker depends on the performance of work in accordance with the contract of employment. No part of the remuneration can be claimed unless the service is completely performed in a situation where the contract provides for payment on the completion of a period of service or a piece of work. The employer may deduct the salary of the entire day if the worker absents even for a period of a few hours.[17]

In the event that the employee absents from work without admirable motivation, she submits a break of the terms of agreement. The legitimate position is that an employee relinquishes compensation when she doesn’t release her obligation as in the circumstance of a strike.[18]

A strike expects laborers to stop accomplishing work or work in a moderate way to decrease creation. The inquiry that will be addressed is whether the wages of laborers can be deducted for the periods when they were on strike. It is relevant in this setting to comprehend that strikes might be lawful or unlawful and defended or unjustified.[19]

The subject of whether the wages of laborers could be deducted for the time of strike originally came up in the Churakulam Tea Estate[20] case. The case included a contest with respect to non-installment of reward for an extensive timeframe. After the disappointment of assuagement procedures, almost 27 laborers struck work. The administration from that point declined to pay wages for the time of the strike. The issue was alluded to the Industrial Tribunal which held that in the conditions of the strike was both lawful and defended and guided the administration to pay wages for the day of the strike.

The judgement delivered in the Crompton Greaves[21]case. The Calcutta branch of Crompton Greaves was planning on laying off a considerable number of workers as a result of economic recession. In order to negotiate a middle path, a few meetings were held between both the parties. However, the differences remained and the Management chose to retrench 93 workers. The workers saw this as a serious step and resorted to strike after giving required notice to the Management and Labour Commissioner.[22]

The Court stated the well settled principle of law that in order to be entitled to wages for the period of strike, the strike must be both legal and justified and that a strike cannot be said to be unjustified unless the reasons for it are unreasonable or perverse.[23] The Court in the long run concurred with the choice of the Tribunal in the present case and allowed wages to the laborers for an impressive segment of the time of the strike. Both these cases mirror the position that up to a strike is both legitimate and advocated, the guideline of no work no compensation can’t be applied and laborers are qualified for wages for the previously mentioned period.

However, in the T.S. Kelawala[24] case, the Supreme Court observed that in a situation where the contract, standing orders or service rules are silent, the management can deduct wages for the period of absence when such absence is not disputed and is the result of a concerted action on part of the workers.[25]

Subsequently, while holding that laborers apparently reserve an option to strike, the Court expressed that no wages could be paid for the time of the strike regardless of whether the strike was lawful or illicit. This declaration made a contention with the two choice talked about already.

On the issue of a workman’s privilege to wages during a strike, paying little heed to its lawfulness, the Preeminent Court was confronted with a contention in itself – Churakulam and Crompton Greaves underlined on the legitimateness of the strike by saying that just during lawful and legitimized strikes will a worker be qualified for wages while the instance of Kelawala opined that a laborer isn’t qualified for wages during a strike independent of it being lawful or illicit.

To comprehend this division, the Constitution Seat of the SC took up the instance of Umesh Nayak . Here, the Seat separated the different sides to explicitly bring up that Kelawala never tended to the issue of privilege to wages during an advocated strike since it didn’t address the issue of whether the strike being referred to (for the situation) was defended or not. It further separated the different sides by worrying on how the two instances of Chitrakulam and Crompton Greaves were not refered to in Kelawala which prompts the end that no clear clash emerges between them – and consequently, these two cases shouldn’t\’t have been considered in Kelwala.

It explained the substitute the two choices of Churakulam and Greaves – that regardless of whether the strike is legitimate however is unjustified, the laborer would not be qualified for her wages; and if the strike is unlawful yet supported, she would in any case not be entitled subsequently worrying on the requirement for a lawful and advocated strike.

In realities relating to Umesh Nayak, the SC followed this equivalent line of thinking – it requested a legitimate and advocated strike for the laborer to interest for her wages (during the time of the strike). On the meaningful inquiry of whether a strike is lawful or supported, the Preeminent Court arranged it to be inquiries of realities that must be chosen by the modern adjudicator dependent on the proof she gets. However, the Court gave its supposition on the best way to distinguish legitimateness and reasonability of a strike – a strike is legal if it is carried out in accordance with the Industrial Disputes Act and a strike is justified based on examining factors which pushed for the strike such as the nature of demands sought, its causes and urgency, conditions of service, reasons for avoiding the mechanisms under the Act et al.

Conclusions and Recommendations

All in all it must be said that the rights of laborers have not been maintained by the courts as they ought to have.

Initially, the right to strike is an all around perceived right. Article 8 of the Global Agreement on Financial Social and Social Rights (ICESCR) perceives a right to strike. India being an individual from the Pledge will undoubtedly give such a right to its laborers. While statutory arrangements, for example, those contained in the ID Demonstration or the Worker’s guilds Demonstration give some acknowledgment to the right, ongoing judicial decision have a struck a sledge blow. The previous decisions, for example, Gujarat Steels[26] were in consonance with the existence of the right. However, the Supreme Court’s decision in T.K. Rangarajan[27] has virtually negated the existence of the right for employees. In this way, as for the right to strike, it is suggested that the choice in the Rangarajan case be thought of. An enactment or revision to existing Acts to explicitly perceive the right to strike would go far in securing the interests of laborers. Given that the level of influence is supportive of the Administration, it is important to ensure weapons, for example, a strike which the laborer may use to have her requests heard and followed up on.

Concerning the rule of no work no compensation, it is presented that the judgment in the T.S. Kelawala[28] is erroneous in so far as it does not consider the decisions in Crompton Greaves[29] and Churakulam Tea Estate[30]. Laborers must be qualified for wages for strikes which are defended and legitimate. Legitimateness includes following the method set down in different arrangements while support requires the nonattendance of unreasonable reasons. Both must be learned on a case to case premise. Consequently, the choice of the Incomparable Court in the Syndicate Bank[31]case is accurate and embraces the field as far as the principle of “no work no pay” in thought.


[1] s. 2(rr), Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

[2] Ibid.

[3] C. Krishnamurthi, Dies Non (no Work No Pay) in Banking Industry, Serial Publications, 01 Jan 2009.

[4] s. 7(2)(b), Payment of Wages Act, 1936.

[5] s. 9(1), Payment of Wages Act, 1936.

[6] s. 9(2), Payment of Wages Act, 1936.

[7] Explanation to s. 9, Payment of Wages Act, 1936

[8] Statement of Objects and Reasons, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

[9] Bank of India v. T.S. Kelawala, 1990 (4) SCC 744.

[10] Supra, note 14.

[11] R. J. Kochar. Right to Strike: Has Supreme Court Moved Backward? Economic and Political Weekly 25.29 (1990): 1564-566.

[12] Gujarat Steel Tubes v. Its Mazdoor Sabha, AIR 1980 SC 1896

[13] B.R. Singh v. Union of India,[1990] Lab I.C. 389 (396) (S.C.)

[14] Kameshwar Prasad v. State of Bihar, (1962) Supp 3 SCR 369

[15] Supra, note 11.

[16] All India Bank Employees ‘Association v. National Industrial Tribunal, AIR 1962 SC 171.

[17] Dharam Singh Rajput v. Bank of India, [1979]12 LIC 1079.

[18] Vikram Thamskar v. Steel Authority of India. 1982 II LLN 319 (M.P.)

[19] Panyam Cements & Minerals Industries v. Deccan Wire Employees Association, 1998 II CLR 923 (Karn.H.C.).

[20] Management of Churakulam Tea Estate v. Its Workmen and Anr, AIR 1969 SC 998

[21] Crompton Greaves Ltd. v. Its Workmen, AIR 1978 SC 1489.

[22] Id, 2.

[23] Id, 3.

[24] Supra, note 17.

[25] Id, 11.

[26] Supra, note 20.

[27] Supra, note 11.

[28] Supra, note 17.

[29] Supra, note 33.

[30] Supra, note 28.

[31] Supra, note 39.

Author: Vaishanavi Krupakaran

Editor: Kanishka VaishSenior Editor, LexLife India.

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